What is your new year’s resolution?
The Australian craft spirits industry needs your help. So why not make a promise to yourself this year to lend a hand to a world that you love as much as we do.
Lose weight, eat better, be home more, travel. Get a better job, work less, find out what makes you happy… new year’s resolutions are a curious thing, aren’t they.
All too often, they just end up making you feel guilty about yourself and they’re generally destined to fail.
This resolution does the opposite, and is way easier and more fun to fulfil.
How to support Australian craft spirits with your new year’s resolution (spoiler alert: it’s easy)
It’s a startling statistic that only 1% of alcoholic beverages consumed in Australia is Australian craft spirits.
And it’s not because there aren’t any Aussie distilleries out there. We’ve got hundreds, and they’re making spirits that are so much better and more interesting than the big international mass-produced brands.
What’s more, we know these big brands don’t really need our help. But the Aussie craft distillers do.
They’re often one-person or family-run outfits that feel every sale of every bottle. You can read more about what happens when you buy a bottle of Aussie craft spirits here.
So make this promise to yourself that for the rest this year: when you next go to buy a bottle of spirits, instead of reaching for that famous brand of gin or run-of-the-mill rum, just look to see if there’s an Aussie alternative first.
I’m not saying never buy international brands ever again; just look at your options. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find.
Our top choices for the year ahead
It’s an impossible task, but we’ve narrowed down a spirit from each category - gin, whisky, rum and vodka - to recommend you try if you haven’t already. The name of this game is versatility.
At last count, Nip of Courage has over 220 different gins in the shop, so we encourage you to forage a favourite in this incredible range. But for this we’re leaning on one of our all-time favourite gins and distilleries, Stone Pine’s Dry Gin from Bathurst, NSW.
Versatile, delicious and superbly made.
Whisky is a tricky one because there are two very different ways to drink it: in a cocktail or straight with a little water. And the style of the whisky often gives you an indication of the best way to enjoy it.
However, we recently fell for Hobart Distillery’s Signature Single Malt, which stands up to enjoying with a drop of water (or not even that to be honest) or an old fashioned. You can read our review of Hobart’s Signature here.
Rum is having an amazing resurgence, and rightly so. We’ve all started to see through the Bundy veil at what by rights should be Australia’s king spirit. The craft rum coming from distilleries here is astonishingly good.
This is a tricky category to choose from as there are so many different types: white, gold, black, spiced… and they all have different uses. But Illegal Tender’s Distiller’s Cut gold rum is both sippable and mixable. This distillery’s Spiced is also great for cocktails - you can read our review here.
Mark our words, there’s an Aussie vodka movement coming and it’s going to be huge! Far from it being the mass-produced characterless spirit that just makes cocktails stronger, Aussie craft vodka can have surprising depth, flavour and texture.
We’ve written about vodkas that break the category, where the mighty Morita chipotle vodka from Karu Distillery or the sheep’s whey Peat Smoked Vodka from Hartshorn Distillery have hollowed out their own fascinating place in Aussie distilling.
But for a conventional vodka that fits almost any cocktail yet also has delicious spice and sweetness, Grainshaker’s Rye Vodka is a great place to start.
There are many other categories of Aussie spirits for your new year’s resolution to explore. Brandy, liqueurs, cane spirit, agave spirit ‘tequila’ - even non-alcoholic options and vermouth.
So try shopping local this year and - as always - tell your friends!